Are you a bargain hunter looking for a way to save money while filing taxes? If so, FreeTaxUSA serves up one of the lowest-cost tax software products on the market. It offers free federal tax filing and low-cost state filing, no matter how complex your filing situation is.
FreeTaxUSA isn't perfect, but it's often a good choice for landlords, side hustlers, and other filers with complex filing circumstances looking to do taxes on their own for a bargain price. But is FreeTaxUSA right for you?Here’s a closer look at the more important features and drawbacks of FreeTaxUSA, updated for FreeTaxUSA 2023, to help you decide. See how FreeTaxUSA compares to the best tax programs for 2023 and how this tax prep app ranks in our FreeTaxUSA review below.
- Federal filing is always free, regardless of your tax situation
- State tax preparation costs $14.99 per state
- Deluxe Edition ($7.99) includes tax questions and audit support
$14.99 per State
Yes, With Purchase Of Deluxe Edition ($7.99)
FreeTaxUSA Walk-Through Review Video
FreeTaxUSA - Is It Really Free?
While "free" is in the name, FreeTaxUSA might not be free when all is said and done. The company offers free federal tax filing for all filers. You're done there if you live in one of the seven states without requiring a tax return. All other filers pay $14.99 to file their state returns. The company also offers upgrades. The main upgrade package includes access to a tax pro and audit support for $7.99.
While it isn’t exactly free for most people, FreeTaxUSA offers an excellent bargain. If you don’t qualify for free tax returns elsewhere due to investments or self-employment income, you can find significant savings with FreeTaxUSA. Out-of-state landlords, side hustlers, and self-employed business owners may all appreciate FreeTaxUSA’s low cost and usability.
Foreign employment income, nonresident alien tax returns, filers currently residing outside of the United States, and high-value donations of property worth more than $5,000 are a selection of the few tax situations not supported.
What's New In 2023?
As with other tax software, FreeTaxUSA was updated in 2023 for new tax laws and changes. If you follow the prompts and correctly enter your information, you should get the same results as with any other tax software.
In 2023, expect to see the following changes related to:
- Tax brackets
- Other limit changes due to high inflation
You can pay less to go it alone, but those needing help with tax questions, audit support, or amended returns can upgrade to Deluxe for $7.99.
Deluxe went up $1 from last year. It includes priority live chat support from a tax expert, unlimited amended returns, and a shortcut to the front of the line. It’s like the first class check-in line at the airport where you can cut in front of everyone else.
However, the user interface is still a bit text-heavy. Low-jargon language helps users through complex filing challenges like using depreciation calculators on rental properties.
Does FreeTaxUSA Online Make Tax Filing Easy In 2023?
FreeTaxUSA offers some of the lowest pricing of all tax software options. It’s a very good value for high-quality tax software, beating many other competitors with discount tax preparation software pricing.
It’s not as easy to use as TurboTax or H&R Block. Those premium software packages boast imports and integrations that can dramatically ease the pains of tax filing. However, FreeTaxUSA’s notable features, such as question-and-answer guidance and helpful section summaries, make the software easy to use. The software’s error handling is also very helpful in ensuring you don’t miss anything important.
Although users may spend time keying information into the software, FreeTaxUSA is a very good alternative to the most expensive options for DIY taxes.
FreeTaxUSA isn’t premium-priced software, but it's loaded with excellent features that make it a solid contender. Here are a few of the most notable features you’ll find with FreeTaxUSA.
Q&A Plus Menu Guidance
Low-Cost And Simple Pricing
FreeTaxUSA costs most people $14.99, the cost of a state tax return. Federal filing is free. Each state filing costs $14.99. Users can upgrade for $7.99 for the higher-end service with additional support.
That’s it for most users!
FreeTaxUSA displays section summaries as users go through the filing experience. These summaries show you all income, deductions, and credits simultaneously. A simple glance can help users recognize that they may have missed a section or made a major error.
Audit Support Available
Audit support isn’t included in FreeTaxUSA’s base price. Audit assistance is included with the Deluxe Edition, which costs $7.99. That's a bargain for audit assistance compared to competitors. This is an excellent deal if you’re concerned about the IRS coming back with questions about your tax return.
FreeTaxUSA packs a lot of value for a low price, but it has several major drawbacks compared to top-priced competitors. Here are a few software shortcomings that you should know when shopping for the best low-cost tax software.
No PDF or Spreadsheet Imports
Users cannot import W-2 or 1099 forms into FreeTaxUSA. Users must transcribe information from their tax documents into the software.
This is quick and easy if you only have a W-2 and a savings account, but those with active investment accounts may potentially spend a lot of time typing in trade data.
State Filing Isn't Free
Several companies include free state filing for W-2 employees with simple tax needs in their free tiers. State taxes cost $14.99 with FreeTaxUSA, even on its Free Edition. This isn’t a huge price compared to $50 or more per state with some others. But it is more than $0, which is disappointing considering it has “free” in the name.
Abrupt Transitions May Confuse First-Time Filers
FreeTaxUSA’s approach to navigation is intuitive and easy to follow. However, when flipping between forms and inputs, the software abruptly transitions users from the question-and-answer navigation to menu selections. New users unfamiliar with this pattern may struggle with the software at first.
FreeTaxUSA Prices And Plans
The FreeTaxUSA approach to filing is straightforward. Federal filing is always free, and state filing costs $14.99 per state. Users who want access to a tax pro for questions and audit support pay extra, but you’ll never pay extra based on the complexity of your filing situation.
$14.99 per state
$14.99 per state
How Does FreeTaxUSA Compare?
FreeTaxUSA is one of the most popular low-cost tax software companies, so our comparisons focus on other popular software options in the same (or close) pricing category. TurboTax and H&R Block are more expensive than FreeTaxUSA but offer better functionality.
All of these programs have a free tier. We think FreeTaxUSA tends to be better for self-employed people, landlords, and people who lived or worked in multiple states that are experienced in filing their taxes and want to save money on their return.
Unemployment Income (1099-G)
Student Loan Interest
Import Last Year's Taxes
Snap A Pic of W-2
$14.99 per state
Earned Income Tax Credit
Child Tax Credit
Dependent Care Deductions
Retirement Income (SS, Pension, etc.)
Small Business Owner (over $5k in expenses)
Free Tier Price
$0 Fed &
$0 Fed &
$0 Fed &
Deluxe Tier Price
$24.95 Fed &
Premium Tier Price
Self-Employed Tier Price
How Do I Contact FreeTaxUSA Support?
FreeTaxUSA customers can access basic customer support by logging into their accounts and sending an email. The company says that they typically respond to questions within half an hour. You can also send an email to email@example.com.
With the Deluxe Edition, you get "Live Chat with Priority Support." You get to jump to the front of the queue to chat directly with a tax specialist at this level. Chat support is available Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern (ET).
Is It Safe And Secure?
FreeTaxUSA has not suffered from any major security risks. It operates with industry-standard security and encryption. Multi-factor authentication is required for logging in and accessing your tax data. College Investor team research did not reveal any historic security breaches. Users should trust FreeTaxUSA when filing their taxes.
However, even users who trust FreeTaxUSA should know that their data is at some level of risk. Hackers could target FreeTaxUSA, and a data breach could expose personal information. It’s also critical to follow online security best practices, notably keeping a unique password for every site, to keep your information safe if another site you use is compromised.
Is It Worth It?
FreeTaxUSA features a great blend of quality and cost. If you don’t qualify for free tax filing, FreeTaxUSA is likely your lowest-cost option. It’s not ideal for active stock and crypto traders, but other filers will likely find the software meets their needs.
The major drawback to FreeTaxUSA is the lack of W-2 and 1099 import functionality. We would love for FreeTaxUSA to import and pre-populating forms. This would cut the monotony of data entry and cut down on manual errors. Unless added, users must decide if the low cost is worth the extra hassle of transcribing tax forms and data.
Here are some common questions about FreeTaxUSA:
Can FreeTaxUSA Online help me file my crypto investments?
FreeTaxUSA may be good enough to file your returns if you only traded a few tokens. You’ll have to look up the US Dollar basis of the trade, but you can key in the trades. However, active crypto traders will want to look elsewhere. Typing in dozens of trades into FreeTaxUSA is unlikely to be a good use of time.
Do I have to pay more for a self-employed tier for my side hustle?
No, FreeTaxUSA charges all users the same amount, no matter the complexity of their filing situation. Federal filing is always free, and state filing costs $14.99 per state.
Does FreeTaxUSA offer refund advance loans?
FreeTaxUSA doesn’t offer refund advance loans for 2023.
Does FreeTaxUSA offer any deals on refunds?
No, FreeTaxUSA isn't offering any deals or incentives associated with refunds. But it’s already a pretty good deal for tax prep.
Is FreeTaxUSA legitimate?
Yes, it's a popular tax software preparation company that has been in business since 2001.
Does the same company own TaxHawk, FreeTaxUSA, and 1040Express?
Yes, FreeTaxUSA is a subsidiary of TaxHawk Inc. The parent company owns three software brands, TaxHawk, FreeTaxUSA, and 1040Express.
Is FreeTaxUSA better than TurboTax?
It depends. FreeTaxUSA is generally lower cost than TurboTax, but TurboTax also offers free filing options. FreeTaxUSA is generally much cheaper for a simpler tax prep experience, while TurboTax offers better imports and a slicker interface for a premium price.
$14.99 per state
Basic Customer Support
Included with Deluxe Edition ($7.99)
Printable Tax Return
Import Tax Return
Yes, from TurboTax, H&R Block, or TaxAct (Free)
With Deluxe Edition ($7.99)
Deduct Charitable Donations
Customer Service Email
Customer Service Phone Number
Ease of Use
Features and Options
Plans and Pricing
FreeTaxUSA is a great bargain tax software option for business owners, side hustlers, and small landlords that don’t need navigation.
- Low-cost, straightforward pricing
- Import tax returns from other providers
- Add audit support for just $7.99
- Users can’t import tax forms
- Navigation may confuse less experienced filers
Eric Rosenberg is a financial writer, speaker, and consultant based in Ventura, California. He holds an undergraduate finance degree from the University of Colorado and an MBA in finance from the University of Denver. After working as a bank manager and then nearly a decade in corporate finance and accounting, Eric left the corporate world for full-time online self-employment.
His work has been featured in online publications including Business Insider, Nerdwallet, Investopedia, The Balance, Huffington Post, and other financial publications. When away from the computer, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, traveling the world, and tinkering with technology. Connect with him and learn more at EricRosenberg.com.
Editor: Claire Tak Reviewed by: Robert Farrington